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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Phew! (02/11/10)

TITLE: there in the tuxedo-ed moment
By Jim McWhinnie


I looked into his eyes and his eyes had the look.

I had seen it many times before, the look that pleads the question, “What am I doing here?” Every time I have encountered the look, I have answered it the same way. I smile, I grab a shoulder, I wink, and then I state with firm and confident pastoral authority, “Son, it will soon be over.” With that final congratulatory wink, I open the door to the sanctuary and lead the procession of nervous groom and his stalwart friends into the moments of sacred commitment.

Well over a thousand brave men have given me that look and every one of them has made it through the moment. I have not lost a one. Oh, a couple of the fellows have weakened at the knees and swooned in the air of the holy altar, but even they were revived to say their solemn vows.

One might think that the “look” might be a sign of weakness in their seriousness of love. But I have found it to be generally to the contrary. The deeper the love, the more serious the reverence, the more likely the groom is overwhelmed with the meaning of the next few minutes. They realize that they about to enter into a life-changing covenant where love is translating itself into providential responsibility.

The walk takes twenty-five well-measured steps, each step taken with an unfamiliar formality. The groom fidgets. He attempts to settle himself into his rented tuxedo and his glossy black shoes, straining one last time to make his neck and his bow tie, comfortable friends.

The music makes it change and the lovely ladies-in-waiting float down the aisle, building in elegant anticipation of the coming of the bride. As the congregation rises and the doors open, a quiet approval is whispered among the pews and the groom who stands beside me, he smiles.

She arrives in her all her loveliness. The father of the bride, he beams with a somehow nostalgic joy; his pride in his little princess troubled by this rite of changing homes. For the groom, the watching crowd fades away and he becomes lost in the intimate love two lovers share in the thoughts behind their smiles.

Hands are held; words are spoken; vows are shared; candles are lit. Then after a prayer, a pronouncement is made, a kiss is kissed for the first time as husband and wife. The resting pipe organ comes to life and joy suddenly fills the room. The newlyweds are about to launch into the party of life, but before they do, in one last instant, the groom looks back to me with eyes that always say, “Phew! I made it!”

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This article has been read 602 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dana McReynolds02/18/10
Great descriptions and "Phew moment".
Noel Mitaxa 02/20/10
You've captured that indefinable quality of hope and uncertainty that I've also seen in couples' eyes - and what a joy it is to bring them together in God's anointing. Bless you.
Lizzy Ainsworth02/20/10
I love the description present here. I have been reading a book by Eric and Leslie Ludy today called, 'When God Writes Your Love Story.'
This has been a great way to continue such romantic, purposeful reading. Full of lively descriptions and reverance.
c clemons02/20/10
Good job!
Gregory Kane02/21/10
Your opening brought to mind Tennyson's poem: Their's not to make reply / Their's not to reason why / Their's but to do and die / Into the valley of Death / Rode the six hundred.
I'm glad to say that the tone changed soon after!
Barbara Lynn Culler02/22/10
Interesting point of view for a wedding. I liked the line "Oh, a couple of the fellows have weakened at the knees and swooned in the air of the holy altar"
That is classic!
Good job!
Virgil Youngblood 02/22/10
A great perspective to write from. I imagine you could write a book that many would find fascinating, and some, helpful. Well done.
Chely Roach02/22/10
Fantastic voice! What a great perspective. I really loved this piece...
Jackie Wilson02/22/10
Lovely take on the wedding day jitters. Enjoyed reading your work.
Ada Nett02/23/10
"The deeper the love, the more serious the reverence." I love that expression...this is a well-written and thought provoking piece. Thank you for sharing and the "phew" moment certainly it the topic squarely on the head!
Sarah Elisabeth 02/23/10
Glad to hear they have all survived ;-). I liked your description of how the deeper the love, the more they realized the seriousness of the committment.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/23/10
Nice job and an unique POV. I've often wondered what the minister is thinking during weddings.
Lollie Hofer02/23/10
Beautiful, tender, gentle and even humorous (having to revive a couple swooners). It wouldn't even hurt to slip this story into one of the pre-marital counseling sessions to reinforce the degree of comittment and love. Well done.
Carole Robishaw 02/23/10
Very good! It's been too long to remember my wedding jitters, but I do remember my son's. The commitment of marriage is something we all need to remember.
Beth LaBuff 02/23/10
As one who has been "involved" in many weddings (behind the "resting organ," or piano, or keyboard), I enjoyed your behind-the-scenes look at the tuxedo-ed member of the wedding party. This is perfect for the topic and made me smile!
Rachel Phelps02/24/10
I thought I had commented on this earlier in the week, but I'm so glad I checked again. Loved this - such a creative angle on the topic. The pacing and voice were equally natural and smooth. Great work!
Sandra Petersen 02/24/10
Here I thought it was only the bride who worried and fretted over the big moment. This was fun to read and from a perspective not often heard. A couple of typos toward the end but some very lovely phrases, too: the thought of the groom trying to make his neck and the tie befriend each other, the ladies in waiting floating down the aisle. I enjoyed this.